Stinky Finger's Peace and Love Thing by Jon Blake

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Stinky Finger's Peace and Love Thing by Jon Blake

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Sex changes, campness, hippies, toilet humour and much more that's appealing to young boys who prefer not to spend too much time doing boring things such as reading. The humour's spot on and the writing has solid quality. An ideal (and slim) volume for reluctant readers.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: October 2007
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340944806

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Bryan Brain and his sidekicks Icky and Stinky have found themselves in a world sans adults. There's been an alien invasion - well, there was an alien invasion some books ago, actually, but it doesn't really matter - and all the grown ups have been sucked up to populate an extra-terrestrial Space Zoo. This leaves Earth's children to their own happy devices. Bryan, Icky and Stinky, therefore, live a remarkably fulfilling existence that involves fighting, making a mess, building models, eating lots of herby dumplings, and having the odd adventure to fill in the boring moments. It's all rather jolly.

In Peace and Love Thing, our three dauntless heroes discover flower power. When Stinky finds a mysterious seed and manages to plant it instead of hide it, he unleashes a sequence of events that takes in hippies, kaftans, folk music, sex changes and overflowing toilets. Even Bryan is fazed when he wakes up wearing a dress.

As you can see, this is the kind of camp-come-locker-room humour that will appeal to all young boys of everyone's acquaintance. It's all wild and silly and rude and surreal. It's short and easy to read. It's very funny and there are all sorts of daft images and one-liners. As such, Peace and Love Thing is a perfect choice for confident and mature readers of eight and up, but also for older but reluctant readers of ten to twelve. There isn't much challenge beyond the ability to snigger, and it's has much more boy-appeal than girl-appeal, but the writing is of great quality. It's precise and grammatical and dry and witty and it sneaks in some fairly sophisticated vocabulary barely unnoticed.

I got fed up long before the hundred or so pages were up, but I'm old and haggard and clearly lacking a sense of humour bone. Ask my children - they're sure to confirm this sad fact. But Peace and Love Thing isn't meant for me. It's meant for schoolboys, who never tire of this sort of humour. I loved the illustrations. They provide a slightly darker, edgier feel to a book that could probably be read by six year olds. They certainly emphasise that this isn't a first reader - it's an easy read, but not a totally light one.

It's a consumable - they'll probably read it and forget it, but they will laugh, and they will repeat the jokes, and they will have read something that is actually worth reading. Recommended for a library borrowing; particularly in the case of reluctant readers, or those needing to develop confidence.

My thanks to the nice people at Hodder for sending the book.

Daren King's Sensible Hare is probably intended for slightly younger children and is even wilder and more surreal, but is on much the same lines.

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